Privacy Alert- Google has access to roughly 70% of US Credit and Debit card transaction data


Google, which already monitors your online shopping activities, has disclosed this week that it also keeps a track of what you buy offline. The announcement specifically hits at those using Google Web and Android services in the UK, US, and Canada.

The internet juggernaut says that it has access to roughly 70% of US Credit and Debit transactions data- all thanks to the partnership with many payment companies and gateways.

Google has revealed in its latest media briefing that it keeps all this data to inform the advertisers when their online ads have led to an offline purchase- all to make its ad services prevail with authenticity.
The search giant believes that the said data tracking of debit and credit card transactions helps it attain a relationship between online ads and offline sales.

The Mountain View-based company is achieving success in this activity with the help of machine learning and said that the new activity can help persuade merchants to boost their digital marketing budgets in coming months.

As per the stats available to Cybersecurity Insiders, the said California-based company runs the world’s biggest online ad network which rakes up $79 billion of revenue every year. If its activity of keeping a track of transactions succeeds, it could take the revenue of the search giant to $98 billion/year.

When it comes to the privacy factor, Google says that it protects the data related to consumers through mathematical formulae. All people names, contact details and the product they purchased for a specified sum are converted into anonymous strings of numbers.

Web services giant Google says that the data is secured in its servers and is never available to the retailers to figure out the real world shoppers. But agrees the fact that it does keeps the info of the shoppers, what they bought offline, what they searched for online and such activity.

A security researcher from Kaspersky said that Google search engine and its Chrome web browser are acting as data mines to Google. They first keep a track of people’s interests, online activities and feed that data into machine learning systems which then match that person’s offline shopping activities to confirm a deal/purchase.

Moreover, as soon as websites launch their own mobile shopping apps which are later made available on Google play store, Google servers start monitoring each and every activity of these apps from their data centers and store that data for later analysis.

World’s leading Search giant Google has already accepted that its third party partnerships have helped it in capturing data related to over 70% of credit and debit card users in the UK, US, and Canada.

Thus, from the Google and advertisers point of view, the scheme can prove revolutionary. But from customers POV, this activity seems to be an absolute invasion of their shopping privacy.

The other big question is how can payment card companies’ share the sensitive info like credit/debit card info of their consumers who used the cards for offline shopping …?

Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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